A lot of changes swept over Washington on November 6th. The Republicans’ hubris was exposed by simple electoral math, and some of the collateral damage of the Democratic victory may include the once-bulletproof influence of the poster boy for Republican hard-line, anti-tax dogma, Grover Norquist.
Norquist got his marquee start in the GOP in the Reagan administration when he founded Americans for Tax Reform, an advocacy group with the stated goal of simplifying and reducing taxes at a national level, in 1985. His stance on the reducing the size of government was once summed up when he said that his goal was to “…shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."
Nearly every single Republican lawmaker at the national level signed Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” as a matter of course, but with the recent ideological shift at the polling booth, a struggling economy and a ballooning national debt, many politicos are beginning to question Norquist’s strategy.
Norquist still has a sizable war chest and plenty of influence in Washington – there are still 219 Republican names on his tax pledge although the number has been in decline – but newly reelected President Barack Obama has been leveraging his recent win with the goal of raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans to reduce the budget deficit and avert the upcoming ‘fiscal cliff.’ How can Grover Norquist fit into the new normal in Washington? Will raising taxes help or hinder America’s financial woes?
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, a coalition of tax payer groups, individuals and businesses opposed to higher taxes at the federal, state and local levels